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This story originally appeared on ValueWalk
A nation's economic growth is one of the leading company's top performance indicators. The same applies to the USA. Over the past hundred years, the country has seen several presidents, each with their own monetary policies to address the challenges they face. For example, the United States saw robust growth in President Donald Trump's first three years, but the coronavirus pandemic affected year four. Trump is not the only president who has faced such a crisis. In fact, almost every president faced a challenge during his tenure that weighed on economic growth. If you're interested in what the growth was like among various presidents, here are the top ten presidents with the best economic growth.
Top ten presidents with the best economic growth
To build the list, we used the average annual growth rate of GDP during a president's tenure, or the sum of the annual growth rate during a president's tenure divided by the number of years. Such an approach helps to lessen the impact of the extremes. We have also considered presidents for the past 100 years.
The following are the top ten presidents with the best economic growth:
Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945, 9.3%)
Roosevelt came up with the New Deal to end the Depression. He developed new agencies to provide stability to banks, boost manufacturing and boost employment. However, Roosevelt later raised taxes to improve the budget, but this led to a recession. In percentage terms, Roosevelt also added the most debt than any other president.
Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969, 5.3%)
Johnson was a powerful leader and is credited for Medicare, Medicaid, and Head Start. Johnson's Great Society program introduced the National Endowment for the Arts, Driver Training, and the Public Broadcasting Corporation. There were no recessions during Johnson's tenure and the unemployment rate also fell. Johnson also escalated the Vietnam War but failed to win it.
John F. Kennedy (1961-1963, 4.4%)
Kennedy increased government spending to help the US get out of the 1960 recession. In 1961 he introduced the Food Stamp pilot program in many states, increased the minimum wage and also improved social security benefits. Kennedy also accelerated the payment of farm price supports, dividends for GI life insurance, and tax refunds. He also expanded employment offices.
Bill Clinton (1993-2000, 3.9%)
The US saw phenomenal growth in the 1990s, and there were many reasons for it, including soaring world trade, the surge in the tech sector, decent growth in other sectors, and more. At the same time, inflation, unemployment and the federal deficit also fell during this period. He signed the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and posted a budget surplus of nearly $ 70 billion.
Ronald Reagan (1981-1989, 3.5%)
Reagan came into office in the midst of a recession and stagflation. He increased defense spending when he opposed communism and the Soviet Union. To stimulate the economy, Reagan cut the top income tax rate from 69.3% to 28% and the corporate tax rate from 46% to 34%. However, he raised the wage tax to protect the social security program. He eliminated the price controls of the Nixon era. However, the national debt has more than doubled during his tenure.
Richard Nixon (1969-1974, 3.5%)
Nixon ended the Vietnam War and increased military transfers to Iran and Saudi Arabia. During his tenure, he increased the national debt by $ 121 billion. In 1971 he developed "Nixon Shock", which imposed wage price controls, closed the gold window and imposed an import tariff of 10%. However, this contributed to a decade of stagflation.
Jimmy Carter (1977-1981, 3.3%)
Carter came when the economy was in the midst of stagflation. Even so, he managed to create 9.3 million jobs, the highest for any president. Carter named Paul Volcker as Fed Chairman in 1979, who raised interest rates to end double-digit inflation. In response to higher oil prices, Carter took energy-saving measures.
Dwight Eisenhower (1953-1961, 3%)
Eisenhower took a blended approach, continuing most of the Roosevelt's New Deal and Truman's Fair Deal programs. He added more people to social security and founded the Ministry of Health, Education and Social Affairs. Eisenhower also raised the US minimum wage and reduced military spending as well.
George H.W. Bush (1989-1993, 2.3%)
Bush faced the 1990-1991 recession (triggered by the savings and credit crunch) and the 1992 unemployment rate was over 7.8%. He had to raise taxes as he wasn't in favor of social security or defense cuts. During the Bush administration, national debt rose 54%.
George W. Bush (2001-2009, 2.2%)
Bush faced three of the worst challenges of all time during that tenure – the 9/11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and the 2008 financial crisis. He also had to fight the 2001 recession. In response, he developed tax breaks and business tax cuts to stimulate recruitment. To lessen the impact of the 2008 crisis, Bush approved business-friendly bailouts and sent out tax refund checks. The national debt has more than doubled in his eight years in office.